In English, ‘than’ and ‘then’ are the most commonly confused terms, due to their same pronunciation, however, they have different meanings. Both than and then are action words, wherein than is used for comparing two elements or representing contrast or exception. As against then is mainly used in relation to time, to show when something has happened, or the sequence in which events took place. The example given below will explain how these two differ:
- Then there comes a day when it is proved that Joseph is a better football player than Jacob.
Here, then represents time, whereas than introduces Jacob for comparing with Joseph.
So, there is a huge difference between than and then, which we must understand to clearly describe what we meant while using them.
Content: Than Vs Then
|Basis for Comparison
|The word 'than' is used in comparative sentences, to make compare two entities.
|Then is an action word, which is an expression of time, i.e. what happens next.
|Part of speech
|Conjunction or Preposition
|Adjective or Adverb
|Indicate second element in a comparison
|Indicate second part in a sentence
|Middle of the sentence
|Beginning or end of the sentence
|When it comes to intelligence, Akshada is a step ahead than Janvi
|Shreya deposited the cash to the hospital and then the operation started.
Definition of Than
‘Than’ is basically a comparative term, which is used to make a comparison between two entities, units, individuals and other elements. That is why its position in a sentence is just after a comparative adjective and adverb. Come let’s understand the use of ‘than’ in our sentences:
- It is used as a preposition, it emphasizes the other entity of comparison:
- Bill Gates is richer than Mark Zuckerberg.
- My daughter scored better percentage in class 12th than her friend.
- It acts as a conjunction to highlight an exception:
- I prefer walking rather than jogging as an exercise.
- There is no better hotel other than this.
- It can also be used to show an option or diversity, and it also indicates an unpreferred choice:
- I would rather be an author than a poet.
Definition of Then
‘Then’ is an expression of time in a sentence, i.e. it indicates what happens afterwards. As an adverb, it is used to show ‘at what time’ or ‘to denote the sequence of events’. When ‘then’ is used as an adjective, it indicates something which was true at a certain time in the past, but it is not true at present. Then as a noun refers to ‘that time’.
One can also use ‘then’ while communication to point out what you are going to say next. It can be used to give additional information or conclude something. Now, let’s understand the use of ‘then’ with the help of examples:
- It is used to express that time in past or future:
- You should have told me the decision then.
- Just then, we started chatting.
- Then I moved to the city of my dreams, i.e. Dehradun.
- To refer next step or point:
- First I will do my work, then I will watch a movie.
- Let her decide first, then talk about the matter.
- To imply in addition:
- This is the basic car model, then there are premium models also.
- To refer to consequence or outcome:
- If you study harder, then you will succeed.
Key Differences Between Than and Then
The points given below are substantial so far as the difference between than and then is concerned:
- The word ‘than’ is used when there is some kind of comparison between two subjects. On the other hand, then is an adverb that expresses actions in time.
- Than is commonly used as a preposition or conjunction, whereas then is mainly used as an adverb or adjective.
- The position of ‘then’ is either at the beginning or at the end of the sentence. Conversely, than is positioned at the middle of the sentence, that links two elements of comparison.
- While than introduces the second element in a comparison, then adds another part in a sentence.
- I want to visit any Asian country, other than China, as I’ve already been there.
- Communication skills of Kapil are better than Rahul.
- Once the project is complete, then I will switch the company.
- If Priya doesn’t come by tomorrow morning, then we have to take strict action against her.
How to remember the difference
‘Then’ is a rhyming word of ‘when’, which also indicates time, so you can relate the meaning of then in this sense. Further, to understand the use of than, you must memorise it with ‘that’. When one thing is better than another, you would say: This is better than that.